BOSTON -- On Wednesday night, with exactly one week before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Red Sox took the field with a 1 1/2-game lead in the American League East.
It remains to be seen how active Boston will be over the next week, but general manager Ben Cherington has the full support of ownership to make a move or two that could put a contending team over the top.
"I think that we're already very strong. We have the best offense in baseball, scoring the most runs," said owner John Henry. "We've had some bad luck with pitching injuries. So we're looking, but it's hard to predict. Making trades at the Trade Deadline is expensive, especially with regard to future talent. It'll be tricky."
Boston's farm system is considered one of the strongest in the game. And at this time of year, there's always a balancing act between the present and the future.
"We're not going to give up the future, because we're already going for it," said Henry. "This team is already doing a [great] job of going for it now. But we'll look at what availability there is. Ben will look at that."
Henry confirmed that the Red Sox are in a position where they can take on some salary over the last couple of months of the season.
President/CEO Larry Lucchino has always believed in bolstering a team with moves down the stretch.
"I always expect there to be moves," Lucchino said, "but that doesn't mean there always are. I know how hard everybody works to bring about some improvement in the club. It's one of our fundamental obligations, really, in the front office, to look into this. That doesn't mean making a deal just for the sake of making a deal, but our obligation is to see if we can help the team get better as the season goes on. That could be from our internal system, too. There's a lot of good young talent in our system that could help us."
Pitching -- all types -- figures to be at the top of Cherington's shopping list in the next week.
"Well, we'll be aggressive in making phone calls and pursuing things and gathering information and trying to find ways to improve the team," said Cherington. "What that turns into, I don't know. I think we're still in a strong position. We've got a lot of good players here, good players in Pawtucket that can help us. We'll see. It's one thing to want something. There's got to be a match. There's got to be two to dance. If we find a partner that makes sense, we'll pursue it."